Jones Edmunds conducted gopher tortoise survey, permitting, and relocation services for the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) Lakeside Ranch Stormwater Treatment Area project that comprises over 1,200 acres. Jones Edmunds also completed extensive vegetation and tortoise surveys for the SFWMD Hickory Hammock and Ft. Basinger recipient sites. We prepared and submitted two separate gopher tortoise relocation (Conservation) and a Long-Term Recipient Site permit application to the FWC and obtained permits. The Ft. Basinger site is SFWMD’s first gopher tortoise recipient site. Burrowing owls, bald eagles, and Sherman’s fox squirrels were also documented on-site by Jones Edmunds scientists. Jones Edmunds conducted several pre-construction 100% tortoise surveys of the site, assisted with and supervised the backhoe excavation of over 300 burrows, and transported and released over 150 tortoises to the SFWMD Hickory Hammock or the Brahma Island Recipient Site. We generated a Final Report which summarized the surveys, permitting, and relocation activities at this site.
In this project that attracted national and international attention, Jones Edmunds provided project support for a broad range of resource areas including land use, water resources (wetlands, floodplains, surface waters, groundwater, and Wild and Scenic Rivers/Special Class water bodies), threatened and endangered species, infrastructure and utilities impacts, and transportation (highway access, roads, and railroads) impacts to natural resources. We also assisted with the required extensive public involvement and were involved with extensive agency coordination for the many possible alternatives to the proposed action.
Jones Edmunds coordinated with, prepared, and obtained approval from the USFWS Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge of a listed species survey plan for the launch complex and two proposed off-site support facilities in Volusia County. We subsequently completed USFWS/FWC-compliant Florida scrub-jay, eastern indigo snake, gopher tortoise, and four seasonal migratory bird surveys at the proposed at each location. We also set up four drift fence arrays to survey to investigate amphibian species such as the gopher frog and herpetofauna species at the Shiloh Launch Complex site. We completed jurisdictional wetland delineations for the USACE at the Shiloh Launch Complex, two off-site support facilities, and a notional Pad 49 at KSC and obtained jurisdictional determination permits. We provided information necessary to support Section 404(b) review and development of the USACE Least Environmentally Damaging Practicable Alternative and prepared a final report that was submitted to Space Florida.
Protecting Florida’s ecology is a key to our sustainability and resiliency. Providing purposeful ecological services within restoration projects or new site development, whether it’s for wetlands or listed wildlife species, is a cornerstone to providing that protection. Jones Edmunds offers our clients ecological services to provide a seamless and cost-effective, in-house team for the assessment, design, and permitting of important projects all while navigating regulatory requirements. We efficiently and quickly inform our clients of potential ecological issues, conflicts, and opportunities with their proposed projects to protect and restore ecological functions while also finding ways to move projects forward. Our diverse ecological services include terrestrial, freshwater, estuarine, and marine systems, and our projects range from those driven by regulations to research. These services include: